I type this almost 2 years to the day that I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was 33 years old at the time. Breast cancer had recently killed my mom, and before her, my grandmother, so I was terrified. I really thought I was going to die.
I joined an online support group for young women under the age of 45 with breast cancer in the UK. Not only was the wider group support amazing, but I also formed some incredibly close friendships with other women my age who were undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
Since then, 5 of the women I became close friends with have died.
- Claire's breast cancer spread to her brain. She had had a mastectomy and chemotherapy for her primary breast cancer but while she was undergoing that treatment, the cancer had spread to her brain. By the time the doctors were able to identify that the cancer had spread, she was given a matter of days to live. She had just turned 30 when she died.
- Jojo's breast cancer spread to her liver. She was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer before she had finished radiotherapy for her primary breast cancer. Her doctors told her she may have 6 months to live and sadly they were right, despite further chemotherapy. She had just turned 32 when she died.
- Rosie's breast cancer spread to her liver. Rosie was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer just as she had finished chemotherapy for her primary breast cancer. She underwent 6 more months of gruelling chemotherapy. She was 38 when she died, and leaves behind 2 young children.
- Kate's breast cancer spread to her bones and her liver. She had completed treatment for primary breast cancer in the summer of 2014, and was getting on with her life, but in Spring of 2015 she felt a lump by her collarbone. Scans showed the cancer had been spreading and was in her lymph nodes, liver and bones. Kate also had several months of gruelling chemotherapy that was unsuccessful. She was 37 when she died.
- Danielle's breast cancer spread to her liver. Her secondary breast cancer diagnosis came a matter of weeks after getting a clear MRI scan following initial treatment. Her cancer was so aggressive that she only had one round of additional chemotherapy before she died. She was 32 when she died, and also leaves behind 2 young children.
When you are first diagnosed with cancer, you think that's the worst thing that can ever happen to you. It isn't. You soon learn that the worst thing that can every happen to you is to be diagnosed with secondary breast cancer - ie breast cancer that has spread from the breast to another part of the body. Secondary breast cancer is currently incurable.
Secondary First is a charity that has been set up by my friend Rosie's husband, family and friends to raise money specifically for research into finding a cure for secondary breast cancer. Secondary First itself is being run by volunteers. All money that Secondary First raises will go to Breast Cancer Now, specifically for secondary breast cancer research projects.
I wanted to set myself a challenge to fundraise for Secondary1st. Many of you will know that before cancer, I had gotten into running, but the various cancer treatments and surgeries over the last 2 years have kept stopping me in my tracks. I can confirm I have now lost all fitness! I thought about signing up for a half marathon, but I am due to have further surgery later this year and don't know when that will be. So I have set myself more of a long term challenge....
I am going to run 350km between now and Christmas.
I can't currently run more than 2km, and I am expecting there will be at least 4-6 weeks post surgery later in the autumn where I can't run at all, so this is going to be quite a challenge for me. But it will be worth it if I can help raise a bit of money for Secondary1st because this research will help save lives.
I will keep a record of the distances I have run and when on my blog at http://bit.ly/29rXlJ2.
Thank you for taking the time to read all this, and please consider sponsoring me and sharing my page with others.
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